How To Apply For Work Permit In USA

For non-citizens, working in the United States requires authorization from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and just because you have legal permission to be in the United States does not automatically mean that you are permitted to work there.

To be able to work in the U.S, you would need to apply for a work permit which is also called an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

Now don’t fret, getting a work permit in USA is a relatively easy process as long as you’re eligible and as long as all your documentation is complete.

Let’s read on to find out the Dos and DONTs on how to apply for work permit in USA.

How To Apply For Work Permit In Usa

A work visa acts as a work permit that will allow you work and live in the US.

To apply for work permit in USA, you’ll first need to fill out the USCIS Form I-765 which is a one page form, attach the documentation showing that you’re eligible to apply for work permits including proof of identity, and attach photos and the appropriate fees paid.

After this stage, the next stage would be to submit it to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Be careful to read instructions carefully as some categories of applicants are not required to pay any fee.

Read Also: How To Move To Canada As A Skilled Worker

Eligibility For Us Work Permit

A US work permit is not available to all immigrants, it is only available to those who are in the process of applying for a green card or those who have some temporary right to be in the US.

For example, immigrants who go on to become U.S. citizens can, of course, work, and will be able to show their U.S. passport or naturalization certificate to employers.

Foreign nationals who have obtained work-based visas that have been sponsored by U.S. employers are also eligible to work in the United States. 

Requirements For Us Work Permit

How To Apply For Work Permit In Usa
  • Valid Passport.
  • Copy of your US visa.
  • Copy of your travel record, if available.
  • Copy of previous work permits (front and back), if any.
  • Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa and Registration Application.
  • Two (2) 2×2 photographs.
  • Civil Documents for the applicant.
  • Financial Support. At your immigrant visa interview, you must demonstrate to the consular officer that you will not become a public charge in the United States.
  • Sealed and Completed Medical Examination Forms.

If you have not been issued a work permit before, you must also submit a copy of either your Birth certificate and a photo ID, a copy of a visa that was issued by the consulate of a country other than the United States, other national identity document with your photo and/or fingerprint

Processing Time For Us Work Permit

After confirming your eligibility and applying for the US work permit, you would then wait for your application to be processed.

In general, it takes about 5–7 months for USCIS to process work permit applications.

After processing the application, USCIS will send a message across to you stating whether your application was approved or rejected.

Read Also: How Long Does It Take To Get a Canadian Visa?

Working In America Using A Student Visa

Students studying in the United States using a student visa may work only on campus during their first academic year in their program. After their first academic year, foreigners on US student visas can engage in these three types of off-campus employment:

  • Curricular Practical Training
  • Optional Practical Training (pre-completion or post-completion)
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Optional Practical Training Extension

Frequently Asked Questions

Who needs a work permit?

If you are in the U.S. and you are applying for a family-based green card, have a K-1 fiancé visa, or are the spouse of a H-1B visa holder, then you may be able to apply for a work permit so you can work while you are in the U.S..

Students who are studying in the U.S. with an F-1 student visa can also apply for a work permit.

How long is a work permit valid for?

Work permits issued through the adjustment of status (AOS) process are valid for two years.

This applies to initial (first-time) EADs through adjusting stats, as well as renewal EADs while the AOS application is still pending.

Can I use the work permit as a form of identification?

If you have an EAD, you may be able to use it as a means of identification.


It is important to note that a work visa is different from a work permit, for you to apply for a work permit, a copy of your US work visa should be cited during the application process.

Now, if you adhere to all the necessary guidelines on how to apply for work permit in USA, you will stand a greater chance of having your application approved.

Now let’s get started on this application!